Wednesday, May 03, 2017

How hard was it to write the Bible?

Whitaker argues that 2 Maccabees cannot be divinely inspired because the author speaks of “the labour of making this epitome as troublesome, and full of toil and difficulty, 2 Macc. 11 But nothing is so difficult as to give any trouble to the Holy Spirit” (Disputation on Holy Scripture, p102).

Whitaker concedes that we may distinguish the prophetic mode of inspiration whereby “the prophets had no other trouble than that of dictating or writing, since God inspired them with a knowledge of all that they were to write or dictate” (p102) but that “those [such as Luke] who published histories used diligence and industry: for the Holy Spirit does not make men lazy, or slothful, or neglectful. So Luke thoroughly investigated…. But I absolutely deny that this writing was troublesome or difficult to Luke, because nothing can be troublesome to the Holy Spirit…. “The Holy Ghost,” as Ambrose says, “knows nothing of slow effects.” [Vide supra, p38]” (p102)

This argument seems quite unconvincing to me. Of course nothing is hard to God but we simply do not know how inspired writing felt to Luke as he wrote and whether he could tell the difference between penning Acts and jotting down his shopping list. I can see no reason to think that inspired writing should come especially easily. The Holy Spirit is perfectly able to work with or without human trouble, toil and difficulty as he chooses. In fact, we know from Scripture that it is sometimes as we struggle that the Spirit works in and through us.

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